Friday, July 5, 2013

Weekly Review Round Up 5/7/2013

There is a good pick this week (well this fortnight, I missed last week) of mostly solid Indie film releases. They’re those films that usually have something interesting to say with out all the bangs and whistles of the big buck studios.  For all the mainstream lovers, Epic 3D is pretty good animation for the holidays but sadly Man of Steel is a wretchedly boring overkill.  I am still cranky about them getting it so wrong.

(My movie Pick of the week)
In The House (Dans La Maison) ★★★★

Opens in Australia: 27th June, 2013
Perth, Australia: See at Luna Cinemas 
Other Countries: Release Information

OUR THOUGHTS

Ooh La La.  This is a bit delicious.  It’s a fascinating mystery and you will be ducking and weaving with the twists and turns.  Is it real or just a wild story within a story?  This is why I love French Cinema. Their film-makers have a way of looking at ordinary lives and transforming them into art and mystery. Sometimes they’re crazy and sometimes they are amazing. This is both.  Loved it. 
STUDIO BLURB
A 16-year old boy, Claude, (Ernst Umhauer) insinuates himself into the house of a fellow high-school student, Rapha, (Bastien Ughetto) and writes about his family in essays that perversely blur the lines between reality and fiction for his jaded literature teacher, Germain (Fabrice Luchini). Intrigued by this gifted and unusual student, Germain rediscovers his taste for teaching, but the boy's intrusion sparks a series of uncontrollable events. Kristin Scott-Thomas plays Germain's wife, Jeanne, a contemporary art gallery director, who, alongside her husband, avidly follows Claude's semi-imaginary escapades, while Emmanuelle Seigner plays Rapha's mom, Claude's object of desire. (c) Cohen Media

Man of Steel ★★
Opens in Australia: 27th June 2013
Other Countries: Release Information

OUR THOUGHTS
No, no, no. This is not good what they have done to Superman.  And it is almost unforgivable that director, Zac Snyder (Sucker Punch, 300) managed to make Michael Shannon act badly. I thought that was impossible.  Its spot the 'A' list actor but that means nothing if they have nothing to work with. Something has gone terribly wrong in Hollywood when nobody tells Directors they have gone too far and repeated the same scene too many times.  Yes, there is a spectacular fight sequence but we don’t need two of them that drag the film out to 143 minutes.  And there are plot holes big enough for Superman to detonate some kind of weird bomb in.  Another reboot that needs another reboot.  Super-boring.
STUDIO BLURB
A young boy learns that he has extraordinary powers and is not of this Earth. As a young man, he journeys to discover where he came from and what he was sent here to do. But the hero in him must emerge if he is to save the world from annihilation and become the symbol of hope for all mankind. -- (C) Warner Bros

Epic (3D)
★★★½

Opens in Australia: 4th July, 2013
Other Countries: Release Information

OUR THOUGHTS
It’s charming and colourful and I feel a little sorry for ‘Epic’.  What animation release wants to go up against ‘Monster’s University’ or ‘Despicable Me 2’?  We needed ‘Epic’ last school holidays when there was a bunch of below par animations released. It would have rocked then.   It is a good, solid story, beautifully done and I think the wee littlies will enjoy it.  My twelve-year-old harsh critic enjoyed as did his tag-along mate, Alex, who wrote a full review here.  But I would see the other two superstar animations before this.
STUDIO BLURB
EPIC is a 3D CG adventure comedy that reveals a fantastical world unlike any other. From the creators of ICE AGE and RIO, EPIC tells the story of an ongoing battle between the forces of good, who keep the natural world alive, and the forces of evil, who wish to destroy it. When a teenage girl finds herself magically transported into this secret universe, she teams up with an elite band of warriors and a crew of comical, larger-than-life figures, to save their world...and ours. -- (C) Fox

The Look of Love ★★★½
Opens in Australia: 27th June 2013
Other Countries: Release Information
Perth, Australia: See at Luna Cinemas 

OUR THOUGHTS
The English do these bio-pics extremely well.  The Director, Michael Winterbottom (Trishna, The Killer Inside Me) does not mind confronting audiences.  ‘The Killer Inside Me’ is still one of the most violent and nasty films I have ever seen (and I didn't like it).
In this film, we learn about the British smut King, Paul Raymond, who from this film we gather is the equivalent of Hugh Hefner or Larry Flynt.  You won’t feel a great deal of sympathy for Raymond enduring the tragedies of his life. 
It’s a well crafted, interesting film, albeit probably not on a person I really care to have this much detail.  In saying this it is interesting to see London in the swinging sixties and seventies.  Warning, there is a great deal of sexual content and nudity. 
STUDIO BLURB
The Look Of Love is the quite extraordinary true story of British entrepreneur and smut peddler Paul Raymond (played by Steve Coogan), who made his fortune opening some of Britain's first strip clubs and financing other classically un-British pursuits to eventually become Britain's richest man. The film follows Raymond's life in humorous fashion before leading up to the darkest parts of his life when his daughter (played by Imogen Poots) and heir to his empire dies of a drug overdose.

We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks
★★★
Opens in Australia: 4th July 2013
Other Countries: Release Information
Perth, Australia: See at Luna Cinemas

OUR THOUGHTS
After recently viewing ‘Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God’ produced and directed by Alex Gibney, I had high hopes for his latest documentary, ‘We Steal Secrets’. 
WikiLeaks is a fascinating story and in viewing ‘We Steal Secrets’ I’d hoped to  learn more about the headline-making, white-haired enigma Julian Assange.  However, whilst it was interesting, I don’t think there was anything here we didn’t already know.
There was some insight into Bradley Manning, the analyst who leaked the super secret military documents to WikiLeaks but instead of delving deeper into Assange and Manning, there was a lot of repetitive information which filled the film out to 130 minutes.
For documentary lovers who have been on another planet and know little of WikiLeaks it will be fascinating.  Although, smoothly done, afterwards I felt rather a little spun by a documentary exposition on the evils of ‘spin’.   
STUDIO BLURB

Acclaimed documentarian Alex Gibney (Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room) takes the reins for this no-holds-barred look at one of the most unusual phenomena of early 21st century media. In 2006, an Iceland-based outfit called The Sunshine Press launched the website WikiLeaks.org. As run by Australian Internet activist Julian Assange, the site's mandate involved regularly publishing top-secret documents and covert information, often regarding governments and their respective military operations. As might be expected, this set off a firestorm between those who admired the organization's bravado and resourcefulness, and those who argued, not unjustly, that the dissemination of data regarding such events as the U.S. war in Afghanistan could put untold numbers of lives at risk. In We Steal Secrets, Gibney relays the story of the WikiLeaks website from the inside, and moves beyond black and white to penetrate a complex network of activity guided by courage and idealism but also allegedly guilty of ethical insensitivity and hypocrisy. ~ Nathan Southern, Rovi